Canadiens forward Benoit Pouliot has done little for the Habs other than throwing roundhouse elbows that would make Georges St-Pierre gush. While talking in the usual vague language of the playoffs, head coach Jacques Martin defended Pouliot by simply saying that “we win as a team and lose as a team.”
CJAD’s Rick Moffat tells us that Martin refused to confirm that he’s benching Pouliot for Game 4. Moffat observed practice this morning, and noted the signs that point to Pouliot getting a comfortable seat to watch tonight’s game.
Lars Eller and Jeff Halpern are “assuming” they are linemates with Travis Moen. Halpern did extra faceoff work at centre ice and then Pouliot stayed out for the extra skating drills along with other Habs extras like Paul Mara and Yannick Webber.
Pouliot hasn’t scored a goal in 27 games, a span in which he also has just six points. However, perhaps in frustration the winger who’s one of the few sources of size among the Habs’ forwards has developed a nasty streak.
During that same 27-game stretch that dates back to Feb. 17 and includes the end of the regular season and start of the playoffs, Pouliot has 57 penalty minutes. He has 87 total PIMs this year, and all of his 13 goals came over the previous 52 games Pouliot played this season when he wasn’t trying to be a goon.
So we’ve stumbled upon the least shocking statistical trend you’ll read all day: Pouliot is the anti-Nathan Horton.
Throw a sawbuck down on the Habs
A week ago the bookies gave the Canadiens long odds to get out of the Eastern Conference (15-1), and even longer odds to win the Stanley cup (30-1).
After winning two of the first three games against the Bruins, Montreal’s odds of winning a 25th championship are now 20-1, with their chances of winning the East set at 9-1.
Wear a cage, everyone’s doing it
It just isn’t a Bruins/Habs series without a few shiners, and Bruins forward Chris Kelly will be sporting a dandy tonight. You might not be able to see it though, because it’ll be hidden behind the full-face cage he’ll be wearing.
Claude Julien told NESN that Kelly will be in the lineup. Acquired at the trade deadline from Ottawa, Kelly’s facial injury occurred in Game 3 when he was shoved into the Habs net from behind by Scott Gomez. Kelly has no hard feelings towards Gomez though.
“It’s a hockey play, it’s part of the game. I know Gomez. I’ve played against him for a lot of years. He’s a good, honest player and works hard. I don’t think it was deliberate by any means.”
Mike Gillis needs his own secret service
If the Blackhawks stave off elimination once again tonight and their series with the Canucks requires a Game 6 back in Chicago on Sunday, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis and the rest of Vancouver’s brass have requested to be moved to a protected area.
Dave Bolland will not be forgotten
The Canucks seem like a loose bunch prior to tonight’s Game 5, but they’re mindful of Dave Bolland, the Chicago forward who returned to the lineup in Game 4 after missing 17 games with a concussion. All he did was finish with four points while playing his usual tight-checking role and shutting down the Sedins.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said that despite the result, he didn’t mind the matchups on the ice.
Re-visiting the Sharks’ Game 3 locker room
Despite getting shelled in a highly entertaining Game 3 between the Sharks and Kings, San Jose goaltender Antii Niemi confirmed he will start again tonight. While Yahoo’s Greg Wyshynski ponders which goalie will right the ship in Game 4, Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News takes a peek inside what was said in the dressing room during the Sharks’ comeback.